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Raj Patel's new economy

January 12, 2010 |  7:05 am

Although Raj Patel has been dealing with macroeconomic issues, his book "The Value of Nothing" takes its title not from an economic principle but from a quote by Oscar Wilde: "Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing." Patel is a London-born academic and activist whose online bio explains that he "has worked for the World Bank and WTO and been tear-gassed on four continents protesting against them."

Tonight, Patel will be on the Colbert Report to talk about his book, which is a critique of markets -- sparks will probably fly. Later this month, the author comes to Los Angeles -- on Jan. 20, he'll be at the L.A. Public Library's Aloud series, which requires reservations but offers its tickets free -- providing value for, of course, nothing.

-- Carolyn Kellogg